Whenever I tell someone I am a “cyclist” (I have to put that word in quotes because I’m less of a die-hard cyclist and more of a person who rides a bike occasionally for exercise), I get the same reaction. There is a pause followed by this statement: “You know what I hate about cyclists?” As soon as this statement is uttered, I know the rest of the information that will follow. They don’t need to say a word. I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The things you hate about cyclists are the same things other cyclists despise about cyclists. True story.
While out riding today, the first day of the Colorado MS 150, I am absolutely certain I witnessed first hand the myriad things you despise about cyclists. There are the cyclists who think it’s perfectly acceptable to ride 4 abreast, encroaching upon one entire car lane in the process. There are the cyclists who don’t obey traffic laws, perhaps refusing to stop for traffic lights or stop signs. There are the cyclists who while passing another cyclist or a pedestrian fail to announce their presence with a simple, courteous “passing on your left.” Certainly, there are other complaints, but those are the top three I hear.
I can assure you I saw every one of those cycling infractions played out during our ride today. Multiple times, even. Every time it happened, I shook my head and muttered a choice expletive. Cyclists who ride without obeying the rules of the road and using proper cycling etiquette are more a threat to my safety than passing cars. Negligent cyclists on the road frighten me more than semi trucks doing 60.
I would love it if I could change these cyclists’ behavior. It would make my biking experiences far more enjoyable. Truth is, though, I can’t rein them in anymore than you can convince the mouthy guy at the football game not to drop the F-bomb repeatedly in front of your kids. I don’t know why some cyclists behave like a**hats. I wish I did. Is it that American attitude of entitlement that makes them feel they are above the law? Are they simply ignorant? Maybe it all boils down to a personality defect? I’m not sure, but please know that if I could fix it to increase my safety I would do it.
Not all cyclists ride with their heads stuck up their butt. Most cyclists are cautious and decent. But, it’s the misguided antics of a small percentage that stand out. Come on. You know that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, right? So before you unload your grievances on the next cyclist you meet, remind yourself that not every cyclist is a bad one. Try to cut us some slack. We know some other riders are idiots. We are just trying really hard to forget it.